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Caterham: Our development plan is delivering 01 Aug 2013

Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03 leads Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013 Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Caterham CEO.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013

They may have entered F1’s mid-season break at the bottom of the constructors’ standings, but Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul says that the progress his squad have made over the last three races is proof that their aggressive development plan is working.

Caterham qualified on the back row of the grid at the season-opener in Australia in March, but a steady stream of upgrades have boosted their form to the point that they’ve now finished ahead of rivals Marussia in three successive events.

“We started the season clearly behind (Marussia), but over the last three races a comfortable gap has appeared between us and them, which shows our rate of development,” explained Abiteboul.

“That’s also helped us, on a couple of occasions, to race a Williams or a Sauber and that shows where we’re setting our targets.

“This progress is positive for the whole team because it shows the aggressive development plan we have for 2013 is delivering.

“So far this performance gain has not turned into a point or an improved championship position as this is not completely in our hands, but each time we bring new parts to the track, not only do we potentially make progress, but we also give ourselves the chance to learn more about us, our strengths and our weaknesses and to give motivation to our staff whether at the factory or at the track.”

Speaking about Caterham’s driver line-up, Abiteboul is full of praise for the way the team’s relatively inexperienced duo of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde have performed so far this season.

“Giedo has had his challenges, but his last race in Hungary was a good reward for his determination and his positive attitude that the team loves,” Abiteboul said. “He’s also going to be helped by the new tyres which will definitely suit his style better than those used for the first nine races.

“For Charles, after only one year of experience with Marussia, he immediately made a positive contribution to our development strategy this year and that’s a clear sign of his maturity and of his determination.

“It’s possible the new tyres take away one of his strengths over the other drivers as he was very good at tyre management, but therefore he must adapt and develop other skills in terms of pure race pace to cope with what’s to come.”

Away from the track, Caterham began the second half of the 2012 season by moving the base of their operations from Hingham in Norfolk to Leafield in Oxfordshire. This year, Abiteboul says the team’s focus will switch to other areas of development.

“During the second part of the year, we will push to be able to develop more and more accurately in the virtualised environment, the route that our industry is heading towards,” he explained.

“In parallel with the improvements we’re making to the facilities, we must continue to invest in people, raising the experience level and making sure we are future proofed, particularly with new aero and engine regulations just around the corner.”

On the subject of 2014, Abiteboul says that work on the team’s next car is progressing well: “We're already above our initial targets for next year, so much so we're looking at reviewing them for more aggressive ones!

“The car has been in the tunnel for a while now, and we're seeing good numbers, all of which is being achieved while we keep progressing this year, hopefully showing without a doubt that we are on the right path to reduce the gap to the midfield.”

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